"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us: establish the work of our hands for us-yes, establish the work of our hands" Psalm 90:17
Saturday, May 31, 2014
School's Out 2014
There it is.
Our homeschool year is done. We have, at
least, fulfilled the legal requirements of what makes up a school year (175
days, instruction in various subjects, four progress notes). Though it is a welcome thing to check off the
list, to wipe my brow and sigh in relief, really, this thing called home
education never ends. Most of the books will be put away, the paperwork
completed, but now a different kind of learning gets to take precedence. Summer is a whole semester of education,
don’t you think? Swimming, sunscreen, fishing, camping, social BBQs and, my
favorite, summer reading. As for our
2013-2014 school year, I am not sad to see it end. It was one of the more
challenging. The worst year was probably the year we moved, but this year takes
a close second. It was The Year I Wanted
to Quit. I knew the day would come. I
just thought I had a few more good years left before then. Now that it’s coming to an end, and things
have improved somewhat, I thankfully do not remember all the reasons I threatened
to put these children into a brick and mortar school. And yes, I did say it aloud, numerous times,
to my children, my husband, all the while knowing I could not really do
this. It is not time, not yet, maybe not
ever. But I began to dream of how
wonderful it might be not have to do this anymore. To take sole responsibility for their minds,
bodies, spirits. To pass the baton off
to someone else.
thinking this way made me uneasy, as this responsibility belongs to no one
else. But also, paradoxically, not entirely to me. Perhaps this has been my Grand Lesson of the
has been a very lonely experience for me the past three years. I am no longer surrounded by “so great a
cloud of witnesses” who can testify that this venture is going to pay off- or
at least commiserate with the unique difficulties of not just motherhood, but
home-educating motherhood. I have so few
to sit and have coffee with, who truly get both the passion I have for home
education, but also understand the fragility of a mom who undertakes this. My children, likewise, have a much smaller
circle of friends here. We’re all lonely
and it makes the days difficult.
my worries is not my ability to educate my children. They are getting the kind of education I most
desire for them (literature based, delight-directed, thought-provoking). It is,
rather, my inability to be enough for them, or to do enough for them. But, then, I have learned the truth and I am
trying to embrace it: I am not enough for them; I cannot do enough for them. Children need not only a mother who loves
them, but a father, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, coaches,
teachers, Church, nature, books, and mostly, Christ. My children need to embrace this too- mom
cannot do everything for them. They must
learn to do for themselves. The world is
more than mom, more than her fears, more than her passions and her
beliefs. Mom is not enough, but there is
one Who Is.
very difficult year, He has been enough for me.
In the loneliness, He has been here for me. In the worrying, He has
spoken Peace. In the tears, He has
whispered “I will use this.” I am beyond
grateful. I often think that the purpose
in all of this is to break me and in that process, make me whole. Well-educated kids are the bonus.
I do want to
share something I am incredibly proud of, this 2013-14 school year. And it’s not me boasting that I am
better. I think I’ve made it clear that
I am no better at this than anyone else.
But one of my passions is reading to my children, and with it the hope
that they become voracious readers. One
of my core educational beliefs is that reading is enough. And this was a banner
year for reading. Allow me to share the
list of books we listened to (via read-aloud or audio) this year:
Gooney Bird Green and the Room Mother- Lois Lowry The Golden Goblet- Eloise Jarvis McGraw Lost on a Mountain in Maine- Don Fendler Charlotte’s Web- EB White Ramona and Beezus; Ramona and Her
Cleary Mrs. Piggle Wiggle; Hello Mrs. Piggle
McDonald The Tanglewood’s Secret; Star of
Light; Treasures of the Snow- Patricia St. John The Best Christmas Pageant Ever- Barbara Robinson Eric Liddell- Janet and Geoff Benge The Moffats- Eleanor Estes Misty of Chincoteague- Margeurite Henry Understood Betsy- Dorothy Canfield Fisher Gooney Bird is So Absurd- Lois Lowry The Little Princess- Frances Hodgeson Burnett Mountain Born- Elizabeth Yates In Grandma’s Attic- Arleta Richardson The Children’s Homer- Padraic Column The Secret of Pheasant Cottage- Patricia St. John The Hobbit- JRR
Tolkien (currently reading) Archimedes and the Door of Science- Jeanne Bendick
books, I believe, and these are just the chapter books we dug our noses into.
also the year that Mister really began to read chapter books for pleasure. He has begun devouring, not all, but many of
the books he’s read.
This is the
year that Brown-Eyed-Girl’s reading has taken off, finally able to read more
independently, and higher level readers.
joys in homeschool involve us being wrapped up in books. I am not a science experiment mom; this year
was short on that. I am not all that
dedicated to teaching my children practical things like tying their shoes (my
philosophy: It will come). But I do love reading aloud from the Bible and from
other good books and discussing them. I love when my children ask the
Two-plus-two is so easy (in theory, of course), but I just love a good
“Why do we believe this?” question. I feel like
I’m giving a bit of an award speech, and honestly, every homeschooling mom
deserves an award at the end of the year, but I do need to thank my greatest
encourager in the whole wide world, my husband.
I honestly could not do this without his 100% (and more) support and
wisdom and words of encouragement every day.
He is proud of what I do here at home and he doesn’t want it any other
way. I also must thank the grandparents
for being so supportive of our endeavors and for all the practical help, too,
like watching kiddos for date nights, getaways, and doctor’s appointments. And much thanks to the moms who started this
before me and who show me that this can be done and turn out all right. You may
not even know you are my heros, but you are, so I’m just going to go ahead and
drop names: Holly, Aleyne, Wendy, Jesse, Sarah, and Sandra. And to all the moms in the trenches with me:
I’m so so glad you’re here with me and please, let’s have coffee soon! And to my young mommy friends who think this
is something they want or feel called to do: You will never regret it. Not in the end, anyway.
promised myself not to think about next school year- at least for a week. And though there is a lot I want to
accomplish this summer- teaching cursive, math facts memory work, Spanish,
typing- I’ve decided to just take a breather for a bit. Trust. Rest.
Taking time off from school work and taking that time to build stronger
relationships with the my children.